About a month ago we promoted the first round of what will be an ongoing effort to survey grassroots conservatives on the 2012 GOP nomination contest...and the first results are in!
The survey asked the following questions:
- Who is your FIRST choice for President in 2012?
- Who is your SECOND choice?
- Who are you LEAST ENTHUSIASTIC about?
- Do you support or consider yourself part of the Tea Party movement?
- How do you categorize yourself? (what type of conservative)
Given how many names were in the mix (and sort of still are), it's not surprise that things were spread out a good bit. And given that our survey is being promoted to over 200,000 grassroots conservative activists, (over 3,000 of which have participated so far), it's no surprise that it skews in a very conservative direction.
With that, on to the results!
As you can see, Herman Cain did very well, no doubt due to his showing in the earlier debates, and Palin does really well for someone who's not yet in the race. Of course Mitt does well due to name ID and being pretty much the "runner up" from 2008...along with Ron Paul and his hard core support among the psudo-libertarians among us. The other thing to note is that support is pretty well scattered among several of the different "more conservative" candidates (or potential candidates in some cases).
Also note that "someone else" beat out Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Jon Huntsman.
Second choice gets a little more interesting, in that Bachmann surges to the top of the pack. Pawlenty about doubles his support, but the bottom three (Santorum, Gingrich and Huntsman) remain the same.
"Who are you LEAST ENTHUSIASTIC about?" is the more interesting question to me for several reasons. First, in that Mitt and Newt top the list in a big way, (along with Ron Paul...the inverse of the point I mentioned above). This is essentially a rebuttal of what many see as "establishment" type candidate I would suppose...plus the fact that Newt effectively shot himself in (at least) both feet several weeks ago.
On the other hand, note how Tim Pawlenty (of all candidates actually "in" the race) would seem to be more broadly acceptable, which seems to verify the idea that he could try to just hang on long enough to be the most acceptable of "what's left" of those who actually get in the race.
But... Note who's comes in as the least "least enthusiastic about" candidate. In this case, it's "not yet" candidate Texas Governor Rick Perry. Also note that he polls a respectable five or six percent in the first and second choice picks above, all of which seems to confirm the notion that he's got a real opening given the current state of the field.
These last questions give you an idea of how the grassroots conservatives identify themselves. Only 1/5th don't think of themselves as part of (or supportive of) the Tea Party movement...which basically tracks with the fact that 13% of them consider themselves "fiscal conservatives" only. Contrast that with only 3% saying they are "social conservatives" only...which confirms what I've always suggested: that social conservatives are more likely to be conservative on all issues - including fiscal ones - than fiscal conservatives are. The fiscal only crowd still doesn't understand that they can't divorce a fiscal conservatism from the social values that support it and make it possible. But, thankfully, they're a small minority.
The bigger fact to point out is the overwhelming unity of fully 85% claiming to be conservative on ALL issues, or "comprehensively conservative". Republican candidates should take note. This is your base...these are the people who got you elected....and can take you out.
In the coming days we'll dig a little deeper and look at some of the results on a state by state basis.
And we'll begin "round 2" in a few weeks.